Recreational use of laughing gas banned from January 1

The Netherlands have decided to say stop to laughing gas. The Ministries of Justice and Health announced on Monday the ban from January 1 on the possession and sale of nitrous oxide consumed in a festive and social setting.

This decision will enter into force on January 1, 2023. From this date, the gas will be entered on “List II of the Opium Act”, which means that it will then be prohibited to sell or have in his possession of nitrous oxide. However, its professional use will remain authorized in the medical and food sectors.

Many health risks

Used as an analgesic in medicine, but also in kitchen siphons, this gas is prized for its short psychoactive effects, when it is inhaled, most often via balloons inflated by capsules or carboys. The risks incurred can be asphyxia, loss of consciousness, burns but also, in the event of repeated use and/or at high doses, severe neurological, hematological, psychiatric and cardiac disorders.

“Recreational use of nitrous oxide leads to enormous health risks,” said Maarten van Ooijen, State Secretary for Health, Welfare and Sport. “We have seen too many news reports of terrible accidents involving road users who have consumed nitrous oxide.” The use of laughing gas has been found in 63 fatal accidents in recent years according to police figures, Dutch public television NOS reported.

In France, a 2021 law prohibits the sale of nitrous oxide to minors and its marketing in drinking and tobacco outlets. But gas can be bought in large quantities and at low cost on resale sites and social networks.

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